Polybutylene problems

Look through your home, especially around your hot water heater, toilets and where the water mains enter into your house, to see if any of the pipes in these areas look like blue or gray plastic.  If they do, you may need to get them replaced quickly or run the risk of them failing.

Those blue and gray pipes are probably made of polybutylene, which was developed in the 1970s and labeled the “pipe of the future” because it was cheaper and easier to install than copper.  As such, polybutylene became standard in houses built in during the next 20 years.

The problem is that polybutylene breaks down and flakes off when exposed to oxidants, such as chlorine, commonly found in drinking water.  As the pipes continue to degrade, they develop small cracks, become brittle, and eventually break.  Unfortunately, all this damage occurs inside the pipes, so they look fine on the outside until they fail.

If your house was built between 1978 and 1995, check out your plumbing.  If you see blue, gray, or even black water pipes, contact us immediately.  We can determine whether they’re polybutylene and whether you’re at risk for a broken pipe.  We’ll also work with you to replace your polybutylene with safer, stronger pipes.

This entry was posted on Friday, September 3rd, 2010 at 2:11 pm. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.